Johannesburg — THE inspirational men and women who have excelled in the financial services sector in 2017 have raised hopes the gap between black asset managers and other counterparts in terms of stakes controlled can be closed. Among those the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals (ABSIP) have honoured include Fatima Vawda, Polo Leteka and Geoffrey Qhena. ABSIP CEO of the Decade, Qhena has placed the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) at the centre of South Africa's economic development, providing businesses with access to finance to boost growth, stimulate investment and create jobs. Vawda Managing Director of 27four Investment Managers and recipient of ABSIP Woman of Significance is hailed as a "glass-ceiling-breaker" who has made a significant contributions towards growing a sustainable financial sector. Leteka is Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Venture Capital and Private Equity firm, IDF Capital and is the recipient of the ABSIP Special Recognition Award. The executive has been working hard to influence women's contribution in the financial services sector. Standard Bank has been honoured as "The Company with Significant Progress towards Transformation in the Financial Services Sector." "The recipients of the awards are trendsetters," said ABSIP President, Sibongiseni Mbatha. Qhena was delighted to be recognised. I believe the outlook of the IDC's mandate is positive. It is not easy. It requires a lot of work and a lot of commitment, from the government side and also from the private sector side. Overall we believe we are delivering on our mandate," Qhena said. As at the end of March this year, the IDC had created more than 20 000 new jobs. Leteka said being honoured by peers was probably one of the highest accolades any professional could receive. "I therefore take responsibilities that comes with this award seriously and will continue to work hard so that this recognition can have a lasting meaning," she said. South Africa has recorded a significant in the number of black asset managers but there is concern over the stake this group manages. According to research, the number has doubled to 45 from 2009, indicating black asset managers operate R416 billion (R31,2 billion) of the South African savings and investments industry out of a total pool of R4,6 trillion currently managed by the private sector. It is against this background that the ABSIP convened the awards. Mbata said if South Africa was to achieve true transformation and growth in this sector, "drastic change" was required. "We need the courage to create conditions that entice people to come out of their comfort zone and venture onto the critical path of transformation," he said. Established in 1995, ABSIP is a lead custodian of black professional interests and black business in the financial services sector. - CAJ News
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